Another day, another game cancellation. Tuesday night’s meeting between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals has been called off, the National League announced Tuesday.
The decision was made after a second Flyers player was placed on the list of unavailable players due to COVID-19. Defender Travis Sanheim’s name was already on it.
The Flyers have canceled their planned media availability for the day.
Currently, three teams have been out of business due to COVID-19: the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and New Jersey Devils. It remains to be seen if the Flyers will be added to this roster of teams.
The Buffalo Sabers resumed practice Tuesday, but haven’t played since Jan. 31, when they faced the Devils for the second time in two days. Between the two games, the Devils had placed a first player on the list of players unavailable due to COVID-19. Still, the NHL moved forward with the game the next day.
Today, the Devils have 19 players on this famous list, which does not mean that said 19 players are infected with COVID-19; it could simply be players who have been in contact with infected people.
For their part, the Sabers have nine players on this list. Sabers head coach Ralph Krueger has tested positive for COVID-19. Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams said on Tuesday that Krueger, 61, was not asymptomatic.
“He has symptoms,” Adams said. I speak to him several times a day, but he is treated by our doctors. We will see where he will be next week, we hope he will have no more symptoms. ”
The Sabers’ next game is scheduled for Monday, February 15.
The North Division is getting away with it
The situation highlights the gap that exists between the North division, which is entirely made up of Canadian teams, and the three other divisions of the circuit, which regroup the American teams.
Take the list of players not available due to COVID-19. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 49 players, divided into nine teams. These nine teams are American.
Since the start of the season, the NHL has had to move 55 games to the schedule, a figure that does not include recent cancellations, as these games have not yet been placed on the schedule. Those 55 games were all in the East, Central and West divisions.
No game has yet been moved to the North Division. The Winnipeg Jets were scared early in the season, canceling a practice scheduled for Jan. 16. The team were, however, in the middle of a three-day segment without a game and so did not lack action.
On Tuesday noon, Canadian forward Josh Anderson was asked about the difference between the teams of the two countries.
“There are always concerns. The virus is very serious and you have to be careful, Anderson recalled. All the teams take their precautions, but it’s so hard to hide, it’s everywhere. We do our best by isolating ourselves, wearing a mask and washing our hands. There are limits to what we can do to hide from it. ”
That said, the figures show that the virus is a bit more “everywhere” in the United States than in Canada. Taking the moving average of the past seven days, Canada has 9.2 new cases per 100,000 population (3,500 new cases per day, on average). In the United States, based on data from New York Times, there are 33.6 new cases per 100,000 population (111,000 new cases per day, on average).
“The protocol is very strict. You go on the road, you have nothing to do, because you have to stay at the hotel. But players have families, and so do staff, said Kevyn Adams, the Sabers GM.
“But is the protocol going to evolve? Probably. I think the NHL will adapt. ”
The NHL is staying the course on a 56-game schedule that ends in early May, but it is getting pretty tight for some teams. The Sabers, for example, will have to play 46 games in 83 days when they return to action (one game per 1.8 days). Only four times, they will have more than a day between two games.
By comparison, as of Wednesday, the Canadian will play his last 44 games over 88 days (exactly one game per two days). Like the Sabers, the Montrealers will have more than a day between two games on just four occasions, but in one of those cases, it’s a six-day break.